- Sports and Recreation
10 Top Sports Teams Of The Past 25 Years
The Best 10 Sports Teams of the Past 25 Years
This hub is answering the request of "Who are the 10 Top Sports Teams of the Past 25 Years?" This is a difficult question, in no small part because the major sports are so different. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer are all going to have radically different ways of measuring which teams and/or franchises are the best, and it's going to be difficult to compare these different sports teams to one another. On top of that, there are huge differences between professional sports franchises and the best college sports teams. Any list of the top 10 sports teams of the last 25 years is going to be highly subjective no matter what, so to give at least a basic idea of how I'm judging these teams, the following are some of the criteria I'll use to make my personal picks on the ten best sports teams of the past 25 years: level of competition (for example no division 3 college teams will be on this list because Mt. Union would be destroyed by USC's #2 team), competition of opponents around them, level of dominance in their sport and/or field, and the difficulty of seeing any team duplicate said success. Keep in mind these are the 10 best, which is hard enough so they're not in order of best to worst - these are just my picks for the best. As always wtih something like this, this is opinion and some of these teams have been good for years, some are based on one spectacular season. So enjoy!
Great USC Stuff from Amazon
Pete Carroll's USC Trojans, 2000-Present
Love the USC Trojans or hate them, this franchise is unbelievably good. Pete Carroll was hired in 2000 and his first team went 6-6 and then lost their bowl game. Since then, it's been all dominance.
In the modern era of college football with scholarship limitations, a lack of gap between the old elite programs and the up and comers, and so many early jumps to the NFL, it is outright amazing what the Trojans under Pete Carroll has done in the modern era of NCAA football, and is maybe even unmatched.
Caroll's teams have gone 88-15 for a stunning 85.4% winning percentage, which included a streak of 34 games in a row from 2003-2005. During his tenure the Trojans have had a record 7 straight 11+ win seasons, gone 14-2 against traditional rivals Notre Dame and UCLA, won or shared a record 7 straight Pac-10 Championships, had 7 top 4 finishes, gone to a record 7 straight BCS games, won two championships (and lost a national title game to Texas in one of the single best games in college football history), and they are the only team in history to win three straight Rose Bowls.
Add to this the valid argument that USC was as good as anyone by the end of the 2008 season, and their sheer level of in game dominance in many BCS games, and this is certainly one of the best sports teams in history. Add in that they are still prohibitive favorites to win it all again next year, and this is a jauggernaut that you just don't see in the modern era of college football.
New England Patriots Stuff
The NFL's New England Patriots 2000-Present
There might not be a more hated franchise, well, anywhere. Even with the clouds of "SpyGate" (and the eyebrow raising failures of all the coaches involved elsewhere - not to mention their first loss to a clearly weaker opponent in the play-offs), there's no argument. In the modern NFL era of salary cap and free agency, the Patriots might be the last dynasty.
Under Bill Belichick & Co. the Patriots are 105-40 (.724), including a 77-17 run in the last five years, the best five year run in NFL history. Add in a perfect 16-0 regular season, a 3-1 Super Bowl record, 14 play-off victories in the 2000s (already tying the NFL record for most play-off wins in one decade), 6 Division Titles, and they went 11-5 without Tom Brady in 2009, becoming only the 2nd 11-5 team in NFL history to not make the play-offs.
UCLA Women's Softball
UCLA Women's Softball Team 1983-1995
Not many people are noticing the dominance of the UCLA softball team, and that's a shame, because these women know how to win. Since the Women's College World Series was started in 1982, UCLA has won a stunning 11 of 26 (although only 10 are recognized due to recruiting violations), and were on the losing side 7 times, meaning they have participated in 18 out of 26 World Series'.
That is an absolutely stunning record, and hit a high point in 1988-1995 especially, when they won 5 of 8, losing two to Arizona, who went on to win 5 of 7 World Series games and only lost to UCLA. The Lady Bruins are definitely one of the most dominant teams of the past 25ish years.
Arena Football Gear
Arena Football's Detroit Drive 1988-1993
The Detroit Drive of the AFL are the only team on this list who no longer exist. Detroit absolutely dominated from 1988-1993 (they were moved in 1994 and that team folded a year later) when they went to 6 straight championship games (still a league record), won 3 in a row (only team to do so), and went 4-2 in those games. Both losses were to Tampa Bay, who is without question the second best Arena franchise in history. Detroit's 4 championships are second all time, as Tampa eventually won 5 in the decade and change after the Drive folded.
The Detroit Drive are faded memories now, but they absolutely owned arena football for six seasons, and deserve to be on this list.
Chicago Bulls 1997 Opening Intro
Top 10 Chicago Bulls Plays of 1996
Top 10 Scottie Pippen Plays
Chicago Bulls - The Michael Jordan & Phil Jackson Years
Could there ever be any doubt at all about this one? The Chicago Bulls, who had arguably the best NBA player ever at the same time as the best NBA coach ever, along with the best NBA supporting cast ever, winning six NBA championships in eight seasons, not appearing only on the two years Jordan took off from the NBA.
This team put up a stunning series of seasons, including an all time best 72-10 regular season record that will most likely never be beat, the same season winning 11 of 12 games in the play-offs to absolutely clean up. By every measurement, the Bulls were absolutely one of the best franchises in history, and certainly one of the best all time sports teams of the past 25 years.
This team was loaded. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Coach Phil Jackson, Dennis Rodman, one of the all time great sixth men in Toni Kukoc and spot three point shooters in Steve Kerr. These Bulls put together a string of teams and a dominant decade that will be hard for anyone to ever match.
Chicago Bulls Memorobillia
The Edmonton Oilers 1983-1989
The 1983-1989 Edmonton Oilers
Sometimes it can be easy to forget about the NHL, but anyone who follows hockey at all remembers the great Wayne Gretzky, and he was at his prime with the Edmonton Oilers as they absolutely dominated the NHL in the 1980s. This time consistently had one of the best records in the NHL, and won the Stanley Cup five out of seven years.
While there have been historic stretches where teams have dominated more, this was done at a time when hockey was really changing. Just as modern free agency changed the NFL, the modern NHL is not going to be dominated for an entire decade the way it was years and years ago. In the last 25 years, no one has put together a run in the NHL like Gretzky and the Oilers.
New York Yankees Gear
The 1998 New York Yankees
Love them or hate them, the 1998 New York Yankees belong on this list. It might seem a little odd to single out the 1998 team, since the Yankees won three straight World Series titles in 1998, 1999, & 2000, but the 1998 squad was something special. Loaded with the best pitchers, hitters, and fielders in the league, this team won 114 regular season games (at the time, the 2nd most wins in a season ever) and won 125 total games as they destroyed their play-off opponents to win the World Series.
The term might be used far too loosely with recent Yankees teams, but the 1998 team was worthy of being called the Bronx Bombers, and were the best baseball team of the past 25 years.
Green Bay Packers Gear
The 1996 Green Bay Packers
Hate on this pick all you want, but this team should probably be even higher. This team in 1996 was astounding. Not only did they win the Super Bowl, but they went 13-3 in the regular season and they blew away all their play-off opponents, beating all of them by 2 TD or more.
Not only this, but the offense broke the NFL record for points scored (a record that would require both the Vikings with Randy Moss and the Patriots with Randy Moss to run up scores to break) AND the defense gave up what was then the 2nd least points given up in a season in the modern era, giving up only two points more a game than the 1985 Bears.
Even more impressive? Unlike those other teams where starters played the whole game, often running up the scores or keeping the other team down, the Packers' starters sat out a stunning 2 3/4 games worth of quarters to rest the starters during blow outs. If they started every down, that team might still hold the single season point records for offense and defense.
They couldn't build off of it, but that one year team was one of the best ever.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Gear
1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Team
Tom Osborne knew how to go out. Osborne was known for having incredible college football teams back when Nebraska was Nebraska, but the 1995 team takes the cake. Led by QB Tommy Frazier, arguably the best in Cornhuskers history, this team went 12-0 undefeated, defeating every opponent by a minimum of two TDs. What's even more amazing about this is that these opponents included three teams in the Top 10.
This team averaged 52.4 points a game, never scored less than 35, and beat then undefeated and #2 ranked Florida by 38 points, in a 62-24 slaughter. No matter how dominant a college team, most absolutely pale in comparison to what the 1995 Huskers pulled off.
UConn Women's Basketball Gear
2002-2004 UConn Women's Basketball
Have to give another nod to the ladies on this one. While there are a lot of great women's basketball teams, this three peat national title winner gets the nod in part because to win two of those championships, they had to beat the other jauggernaut of women's basketball: Tennessee. Any time you three peat the hard way, you get bonus points.
While it can be difficult to push one women's team over another, especially with how both Tennessee and UConn have taken turns dominating the game, winning three in a row AND dominating your opponent, that's a team worthy of this list.